(CNN) - The average parent with K through 12 students is on track to spend more than $688 on back to school clothes and supplies this year.
Consumer Reports' ShopSmart magazine recommends a little planning and using what you already have before hitting the mall to get more bang for your buck.
"Probably you've got notepaper, maybe a couple of notebooks, certainly you've got pens and pencils and things like that, so you want to take an inventory of what you already have and then build your list around that," said Sue Perry with ShopSmart.
Buy basic supplies in bulk to use year-round. Retailers will deeply discount certain loss-leaders, like notebooks, folders and pens, during the back to school season.
And for the biggest share of back to school spending - clothing - start small.
"You don't have to start your child off with a full wardrobe. Kids love clothes, they like to have clothes going back to school, but you don't have to go and buy everything all at once," said Perry.
After all before you know it, summer will give way to fall, meaning clothes for colder temperatures and Columbus Day sales.
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